Rangers draft paralyzed outfielder Johnathan Taylor

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The Rangers used their 33rd-round pick Wednesday to draft University of Georgia outfielder Johnathan Taylor, who was paralyzed after an outfield collision in March and is considered unlikely to walk again.

Taylor fractured two vertebrae in his spine in a collision with teammate Zach Cone three months ago.  Cone was the Rangers’ second-round pick, and it looks like the team decided it’d be a nice gesture to select Taylor afterwards.

The paralysis has affected all of Taylor’s extremities, so he is considered a tetraplegic.  He has some use of his arms, but no feeling in his legs or fingers.  Still, he is able to use his hands again and even play video games.  Since his spinal cord wasn’t severed, the hope is that his condition will continue improve with time.

Taylor hit .335 with a team-best .442 OBP for the Bulldogs in 2010.  He was playing in Georgia’s 11th game of this season when he was injured.

Joey Votto: “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently.”

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We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.

Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”

Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).

Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.